Energy. Environment. Economy.

Electrical Issue Causes Emergency Shutdown at Wyoming County Gas Compressor Station

Nikolay Doychinov / Getty Images

A gas compressor station in Bulgaria.

A natural gas compressor station in Wyoming County had an emergency shutdown last night due to an electrical issue. Compressor stations are needed to pressurize gas to make it move through pipelines.

The Times Leader first reported on the shutdown: 

There was an emergency shutdown of a natural gas compressor station in Washington Township, Wyoming County, on Wednesday.

Colleen Connolly, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said DEP was notified of an emergency shutdown of the Hirkey Compressor Station at about 8:30 p.m.

StateImpact Pennsylvania contacted PVR Partners, which owns the compressor station.

A spokesman for the company says there was never any threat to public safety. The shutdown was caused when a circuit board failed, and one of the facility’s monitoring systems spotted a problem.

“The stations are designed to be fail-safe ” said Steve Milbourne, PVR’s director of investor relations, “If it can’t verify that everything is fine, it’s designed to shut itself down. There was no physical problem. ”

This compressor station had just been put online in October 2012 and Milbourne said there has never been an issue with it. PVR operates compressor facilities which deliver natural gas to pipelines in six counties: Wyoming, Lycoming, Tioga, Bradford, Sullivan and Susquehanna.

Last March an explosion at a gas compressor station in Susquehanna County, owned by a different company, Williams Partners LP, blew a hole through the roof of the facility and shook homes as far as a half-mile away.


  • William Huston

    This piece is disappointing. Just the basic facts, nothing more. Most importantly: THERE IS A VOICE MISSING FROM THIS.

    Marie, why does this piece for State Impact, as well as your reports for Innovation trail, commonly quote industry sources, but no citizen watchdog group working on pipeline safety or compression station safety? Or a citizen group which opposes gas development in general due to environmental concerns? AS A PUBLIC SERVICE JOURNALIST you DO NOT have to follow the imperatives of the corporate media.

  • Michael Holmstrom

    I hope that system is as fail safe as stated. Per the NTSB, the San Bruno CA pipeline explosion in 2010 started when a controller upgrade at a pipeline control facility cut power to pressure control regulators for that pipeline. The regulators were set up so that when they lost power, they would shut off pressure control, allowing the pipeline to be over pressured.

  • Kim Triolo Feil

    Folks is always is a BIG thing to shut down like that….they call it MSS emssions and it stands for maintenance, start up, shut down. This was an UNPLANNED MSS emission event no doubt!

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